American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An officer on a merchant ship ranking immediately below the captain.
- n. nautical An officer on a merchant ship next in rank to the captain and responsible to the captain for the safety and security of the ship.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. an officer in a merchant vessel next in rank to the captain.
- n. the officer below the master on a commercial ship
“The leader of the uprising, first mate John Sands, was apparently a British spy; he had taken careful notes on the cargo and destination of the other ships in the convoy.”
“She was Surprize, captained out of London by Nicholas Anstis, who had been first mate on Lady Penrhyn and had an interest in the slaving business.”
“That left Lieutenant John Shortland and first mate Long to take the salmon-jawed pair.”
“For that matter he had already dispatched orders to Mr. Pike, the first mate of the Elsinore, to knock out the partition between my state-room and the spare state-room adjoining.”
“I say, shipmate, you had rather rough weather on your late passage to Orleans?" said Jack Williams, a regular old salt, tauntingly, to a trim, compact, manly looking person, who proved to be the first mate of the slave brig in question.”
“The minotaur was Maquesta's first mate and trusted friend.”
“And it afforded Morris another opportunity to exercise his keen appreciation for raw talent—days after the fighting, on his authority as a member of the Marine Committee, he elevated Joshua Barney, first mate of the Wasp, to the rank of lieutenant in the Continental Navy.”
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